School forges historical link

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Ballycarry Primary School pupils paid tribute to general Sir James Stuart Steele last week during a visit to the Northern Ireland War Memorial.

Senior pupils laid a wreath at the Steele Memorial in the village where he was born prior to the visit to Belfast.

The school trip was sponsored by the General Sir James Steele Memorial Trust Fund and signals the start of a closer relationship between the trust fund and the school.

The trust fund is sponsoring an annual school trip and will also be working with Ballycarry Primary in other ways designed to inform pupils about the life and service of Sir James, who was born at Leafield Farm in the village in 1894.

Several of the trustees were present for the short ceremony as the pupils, who have been studying the Second World War, set out on the trip.

Mrs. Valerie Beattie, Mrs. Janetta Scott, Dr. David Hume and Rev. Dr. John Nelson represented the fund.

General Steele served with distinction in both world wars, and in 1953, he was invited to open the modern Ballycarry Primary School.

His ashes and those of his wife Lady Janet Steele are buried in the cemetery adjacent to the village green and the memorial was erected in the 1990s, being unveiled by the-then General Officer Commanding in Northern Ireland, General Sir Roger Wheeler.

The trust fund, which was established at the same time, provides grants to young people who are engaged in community projects. It is open to past or current pupils of Ballycarry Primary School and those born in the village and surrounding rural area.

Last year, the trustees decided to engage directly with the primary school and support educational visits to sites relevant to the First and Second World War.The school has thanked the trust fund for supporting the trip.